Earlier this week, Bobby Fish invited CM Punk to fight him. It seemed like a fun way for the new free agent to grab some headlines in the wake of [waves hand at 90% of wrestling talk since the All Out media scrum]. Turns out there’s a fair amount of bad blood behind it, though.
Many fans brought up Fish’s Oct. 27, 2021 match with Punk on Dynamite, where the former NXT Tag champ seemed to lift his shoulder during the referee’s three count after taking a Go To Sleep from Punk.
Fish, who has trained martial arts for most of his life and competed in amateur kickboxing, told Steve Fall of NBC Sports Boston’s The Ten Count he had an issue being asked to sell for Punk’s martial arts-based offense:
“Phil is not a bad pro-wrestler but what Phil is not is a martial artist. I’ve been doing martial arts since I was eight years old, so I take a lot of pride in it.
“He is a pro-wrestler, so go out, tackle, drop down, leapfrog, get it again, all that stuff, all good. In that lane, dare I say, he’s got talent but when it comes to martial arts, you are insulting the audience’s intelligence because we are supposed to be creating an atmosphere where you can suspend your disbelief.
“It’s honestly insulting for you as one of my co-workers or peers. As a martial artist, you are asking me to go out and sell, put over, your bunk-ass martial arts which is insulting to the audience, it’s insulting to me.”
A certain New Japan wrestler will be happy to hear Fish’s thoughts on Punk’s finisher, too:
“Not to mention, the move that he finished me with, is not even his finish. It was KENTA’s. You know, Phil, you took a man’s finishing move, which anybody who knows pro-wrestling knows that’s kind of fucked up and you weren’t even decent enough to change the name.”
He doesn’t specify if it was the kickout or what exactly set Punk off (he says “there was a little bit of whatever” in their match), but Fish’s description of his behavior afterwards lines up with reports that he hasn’t been a great co-worker to everyone on the AEW roster:
“Phil, after the match, was a cunt. Frankly, as a martial artist, I went out and I laid my shoulders down for you. You should be grateful that I did because on national TV if I decided that I wanted to fucking Haku your ass, I could have because you’re that little bit of a threat in my world. I’m not Jon Jones, or Anderson Silva, but I’ve been doing martial arts since I was young and I can handle myself enough to where I will fold you like a wet nap, Phill Brooks. So, for you to be cunty afterwards because of a mistake that you made, it just doesn’t wear well.”
The Notorious also chimed in on Punk’s scrum performance:
“I think Phil kind of showed the world the scumbag he can be. Maybe he’s not that scumbag every day, but I guess we all got a little bit of scumbag in us and some of us do a better job at controlling it than others.”
Which brings us back to that invitation...
“It’s pretty apparent to people who are paying any attention, I don’t like you, you don’t like me, we can have a competition. Let’s make it a competition where I’m trying to hurt you, you’re trying to hurt me. Not you going to the booker after a misunderstanding in our match that I put you over in, I sold your bunk-ass bullshit martial arts for you, I did you that favor and then because of a misunderstanding you’re going to act all cunty. Meanwhile, we can just get in the ring or octagon or whatever and actually compete against each other, let’s do it.”
In this day and age of celebrity stunt fights, don’t tell me that wouldn’t sell... even if Punk’s UFC record backs up Fish’s critique of his skills.
Check out The Ten Count’s entire interview with Bobby Fish, which also include how he and Tony Khan couldn’t agree on a number in their negotiations, and the possibility of a return to WWE, here.